|Behind the scenes...this is us. You're welcome.|
This week was pretty good! I'm surprised by all of the changes taking place, though.
The news came in a few days ago...Sister Nielson is getting transferred!
She is going to Revere (Reviuh), so I am truly happy for her to experience the city life, but sad to have her go. She was hoping to go to Boston at some point. More than that, she and her companion will be the only English speakers in the zone, as the others are Spanish Speakers. Hence, she will be able to eat much more spicy food. I also reminded her she'll be surrounded by black people in the city. All I can say is she was pretty thrilled to hear that. :)
My new companion will be Sister Harris. I'm not sure where she's from, but she's been out in the mission for 6 months. I know this branch will welcome her in--I just hope that I can do the best job that I can introducing her into the area. Leading the area can be stressful at first so all I can do is take it one step at a time by making plans, phone calls, setting up appointments...the list feels endless but I'm grateful there's a lot to do.
Church yesterday was very good and uplifting. It was very emotionally tiring, though, so I'll explain why. To sum up Sacrament Meeting:
Picture a packed full branch, whose Branch President was about to submit the form to become a ward as we finally had enough people...all sit in shock with hearts sinking as a member of the Stake Presidency announced they are adjusting the branch boundaries. Fourteen families are moving to the Cape Cod branch (including the family I've shared about who I've had high hopes for who I can relate to through our similar lifestyles) and five are moving in. There were quite a few tears shed in testimony meeting as the families leaving expressed their love and gratitude for the branch members. Even more than that, there were a few youth, including Amy, who got up to let Sister Nielson know how much she has changed their lives and helped them through the hard times over the last seven and a half months. I know it was exactly what Sister Nielson needed to hear all along, as she had tears streaming down. I couldn't help but fight back tears as well as she has most certainly impacted my life.
After Sacrament Meeting, Brother Blackwell pulled us aside to help out with his Sunday School class for the 14 and 15 year old's. Once again, he shared wisdom and sincere boldness that increased our motivation. He taught about several pointers, but one thought he kept emphasizing was "A testimony allows me to harness the wind." He shared how we should each strive to create an environment where the other individual--whoever it may be whom we are with--wants to change through the spirit we can invite. Once Brother Blackwell related this to what we do as missionaries, he complimented on the spiritual strengths he's seen for Sister Nielson and I. Since Sister Nielson didn't have the chance to bear her testimony in sacrament meeting, Brother Blackwell asked her to bear it. The emotional day continued. The tears came again and spiritual power filled the room. Sister Nielson related to the youth and shared how she's come to know over the mission the importance of having the gospel, and how they are already doing so. We were all uplifted right there and then through the power and her witness of the Restoration and the love that Jesus Christ extends to us.
During the rest of church, more people bade goodbye and expressed their love for Sister Nielson. There were a few who came up to me as well to show their gratitude and encouragement, which meant a lot as well.
There is a scripture that reminds me of all of these experiences. During my Book of Mormon studies this morning, I came across a verse that I've come to love more on the mission. Jacob 1:10 reads "The people having loved Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great protector for them, having wielded the as word of Laban in their defence, and having labored in all his days for their welfare--11 Wherefore, the people were desirous to retain in remembrance his name."
I felt that I could relate to Jacob as he wrote this. I bet Jacob felt he had huge shoes to fill, as he saw the influence Nephi played in his peoples' lives. Nephi protected them in every way he could spiritually. He did all that he could for them, which made them look up to him. Who knows if Jacob sometimes felt like he didn't do as much as his brother, but as he stated in verse 8 "I, Jacob, take it upon me to fulfil the commandment of my brother Nephi." I could sense he felt a great desire to take care of his people as Nephi did. To be honest, I can say that I can relate to Jacob in this sense, where he saw how much the people loved Nephi because how much Nephi took care of them. However, he had faith that the Lord knew how much he could do with the strengths and talents he was blessed with. I am still striving to discover all of them, but I know that the Lord still has a great work for me to do in Plymouth. I also know that we can look to Nephi's example in this scripture as we can do all that we can to protect those we are with--our families, our friends, investigators if we are missionaries, those we are in stewardship of for our callings...the list can go on. We are all surrounded by sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father who we can reach out to as we seek the Lord's help, as He knows them best.
For more shenanigans this week...we got a new investigator! He is the boyfriend (who we found out they got married secretly recently--that's another story I wish I had time for!) of a member from our branch. It is such a miracle!!!!! He is from Cape Verde so he is working on learning English, but it is coming along very well for him. He began reading the Book of Mormon a couple of weeks ago, and he's already in Alma 11. He wants to gain knowledge for himself and to draw closer to Heavenly Father. As we started the first lesson last week with him, I once again felt the reassuring, peaceful, warm presence of Heavenly Father's love and understanding in their living room. Teaching a lesson like that was a moment I have been yearning to experience for a while!
There are a lot of potential investigators through media referrals, more church related events coming where people may attend, recent move ins and more that Sister Harris and I will be busy with for a while. There's going to be quite a bit of prioritizing and figuring out how to accomplish what's most needed. I'm not going to lose hope that we are losing quite a few families because I know that there's still so much good that can come from those moving in. :) I hope to fully apply Nephi's wisdom to spiritually protect Heavenly Father's sons and daughters here in the Plymouth Branch. The people here truly are amazing and my love for them continues to grow.
I love you all! Have an excellent week!